Dean Lindstrom joined the Army Reserve at 18 years old after finishing his first semester of college. Dean’s father and grandfather had both been in the United States Navy, and Dean participated in the JROTC in high school. He always knew he would join the military, and the opportunity presented itself at just the right place and time.
A native of Orange County, California, Dean was stationed in Fort Jackson, South Carolina for basic training and job skills training. He was trained to be a Chaplain Assistant, a title that would later change to and remains, Religious Affairs Specialist NCO.
In the reserves now for 15 years, Dean has completed three tours overseas. From 2005 – 2006, he was stationed at Camp Buehring in Kuwait; from 2008 – 2009 he was in Taji, Iraq; and he spent a year in Kandahar, Afghanistan from 2012 – 2013. His duties overseas included managing the operation of all chapel facilities for the service men and women, contractors, and civilians in the area and assisting the Chaplain with the scheduling of services and counseling appointments.
Dean has been married to his wife, Andi, for 8 years, and they have a son and daughter together. Dean says, “The value of support from back home when you are overseas is invaluable. I could not have gotten through my tours without Andi.” His most difficult tour by far was in Afghanistan as his daughter was one month old when he left. Luckily Andi’s hard work showing the kids pictures and videos of Dean and Skype helped him keep in touch with her and the kids while gone. He stressed how important it is that the family members of those in the reserves have access to support while their loved ones are away, “Because we are not living in military housing, my family did not have the same type of support system that many active military families have surrounding them. It’s important to seek out others who understand what you are going through.”
For his full-time job, Dean is an Office Specialist with the Contract Services Division for the Healthcare Agency of Orange County. As evidenced by his service in the military, he always wanted to have a career that would allow him to help people. Working in public healthcare helps him feel that he is doing this in part for the county. In his spare time, he and Andi play softball, and he plays drums and bass in a local band when he has the time.
Dean offers this bit of advice to men and women considering joining the military, “Do your research before you join by talking to soldiers who are in that branch. Be clear on your expectations and look for jobs within the military that can cross over to a successful civilian career.” For those active in the military, he speaks very highly of the organization Military One Source, http://www.militaryonesource.mil/. He describes it as sort of a catch all for military services and discounts. The site is most frequently used to set up a very generous amount of free counseling appointments.
When asked if the military has shaped who he is as a person, Dean responded quickly with, “Absolutely! The military has molded me into who I am today, how I carry myself, and the standards I hold for others.” It is quite evident in speaking with Dean how passionate he is about the commitment he has made and his service to our country.